broad request for suggestions: recent Japanese films

Lewis Cook lcoqc at
Thu Sep 28 03:12:55 EDT 2006

On Sep 24, 2006, at 6:29 AM, Steve Cavrak wrote:

> On Sep 22, 2006, at 11:11 PM, Lewis Cook wrote:
>> Some of my students are asking why I'm not screening any films  
>> made after around 1970. What am I missing and what should I be  
>> seeing?
> and
>> I wasn't asking for the names of directors (or for decades) but  
>> the titles of recent films that can stand (or have stood) the test  
>> of time, context (historical, sociological, filmographical, ethno- 
>> political, etc.) deleted or attenuated. Most of my students  
>> (undergraduates) don't have a grasp of the context, despite my  
>> efforts to supply it. What they learn from film depends on what  
>> they can see.
> As folks have suggested, there are lots of new films to choose  
> from, maybe even too many :)
> But your second statement sound like a good starting point for an  
> assignment that at least some of the more serious students in your  
> class will be up to - identifying and nominating a film they would  
> like to see based on reviews, recommendations, etc. The Japan  
> Foundation has offered contemporary film series, and if there is no  
> series coming up, a bit of research can find the recent ones.
> And for your students, the Japan Society and the Asia Society in  
> New York have Film series which could be the basis of an  
> assignment; often the films have discussions and the students could  
> be required to report on and react to the audiences responses.
> Could be fun, and it would still support your curriculum.
> I'll also add two local favorites - Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro  
> and Mononoke-hime.
> Steve

Forgive me for not replying sooner to the many helpful responses to  
my query - I've been looking into several of the titles mentioned,  
some are familiar, many others new to me.
I am grateful for all the suggestions.
Two brief comments:
1. No idea how others on the list think about this - I don't have an  
interest in theoretical debates about genre per se - but I don't  
consider anime to be of the same basic genre as 'movies.' That said,  
I have the highest admiration for Miyazaki's work, and will be  
screening at least two, perhaps three titles - although most are  
already familiar to a majority of students in the class. (I have not  
seen any other anime which are even closely comparable.)
2. re: Steve's suggestion above, I strongly agree with the principle  
idea here, and have been encouraging students to do some exploring  
and informal research on post-70s film. This has been working well  
enough that it is turning into a collective project involving the  
whole class (to varying degrees). I expect it will be instructive for  
the students and useful for developing a broader curriculum for the  

Lewis Cook

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